GPPAC Asia Pacific Statement Concerning the monitoring of civil society’s activities for peace by Japan’s Ground Self-Defence Forces

It is of grave concern that the Intelligence Security Corps of the Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) has been found to be covertly monitoring the activities of certain Japanese civil society organizations, as well as systematically investigating peace rallies in order to gather information, including the number of people in attendance, names of speakers, and the contents of their messages, as reported by the Asahi Shimbun on 7 June 2007.

Such actions of the GSDF would trespass the limits of its legal authority and the existing government policy on civilian control. It also bears a close resemblance to the draconian measures of the Japanese Imperial Army before and during World War II which invaded and caused great damage to the Asia Pacific region.

We are concerned that this behavior by Japan’s GSDF constitutes a tremendous obstacle to the conflict prevention and peace-building activities led by Japanese civil society organizations. Moreover, such practices undermine freedom and democracy as enshrined in the Japanese Constitution (Articles 19 and 21), and pose a threat to peace in the wider Asia Pacific region, as it could be regarded as a resurgence of Japanese militarism.

We call upon the Government of Japan to investigate these reported activities and make public the results of its investigation.

We also demand that those charged be held accountable both administratively and legally.

Peace Boat South China Sea 18 June 2007